Monday, May 02, 2016

In growing rural Wyoming, isolated residents still live too far away to receive help during a fire

A growing population in rural Wyoming is leading to concerns among residents and fire fighters about how to protect isolated homes during fire emergencies, Joel Funk reports for the Laramie Boomerang. Linda Blinde and David Ratcliff bought a house in Albany County, a 4,309-square mile area home to 37,000 residents. Ratcliff told Funk, “It takes at least 45 minutes for the fire department to get here, so in that case, you just need to be able to take care of yourself. If the house catches fire while we’re gone, it’s going to burn to the ground; there’s nothing you can do, so you just protect yourself while you’re here.” A local company provided Blinde and Ratcliff with "three 20-pound fire extinguishers in areas of risk in the house to mitigate the possible fire risks to people and property." (Boomerang photo by Jeremy Martin: Linda Blinde and David Ratcliff live 45 minutes from the nearest fire station)

Art Sigel, chairman of Albany County Fire District No. 1, said the number of residences and structures in Albany County is growing, Funk writes. "For example, there are now as many as 25 permanent residents and approximately 60 structures." Siegel said the fire district realized the response time to those homes is simply too long. He told Funk, “If you can’t get there in 45 minutes, you can’t just say, ‘Well I’m sorry.’ You have to say, ‘What are we going to do about that?’” He said "one way to address the concern could be establishing a satellite volunteer department, Funk writes. Until they come up with a concrete solution officials are continuing to explore other options.

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